Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sound Bite-Off!

From today's Roundup - we have, regarding the end of the 2007 Legislative session (regular, that is), in this corner, CMC professor and sound bite machine John J. Pitney. And in this corner, longtime sound bite arms race foe, Sherry Bebitch Jeffe. You make the call:

The Bee's Jim Sanders: "Though more than 2,800 bills were proposed and about 960 were approved during the nine-month session, political analysts say the scorecard is dismal.

"'If your expectations are low enough, it was a great success,' John J. Pitney, government professor at Claremont-McKenna College, said of the Legislature's regular session that ended with a gavel's thud about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.

"'They took care of the ordinary business of government, but when it came to the large issues, it was a session of deferral rather than accomplishment,' Pitney said.

"Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a political analyst from the University of Southern California, cautioned against judging the Legislature until the special sessions are over.

"But Jeffe conceded that lawmakers aren't hearing much applause, adding, 'I would say the perception is that the Legislature didn't accomplish very much.'
Ladies and gentlemen, it's no suprise here: Pitney takes the title easily from Bebitch Jeffe - simple statement of events is no match for Pitney's poetic, classic, comparison structure. Well done, Jack!

If you read the rest of the Roundup - it sounds like a dark day for California policy-making. Realistically, however, the only people who will remember it as an especially lousy year by the time the Legislature reconvenes are prison guards whose collective-bargaining-is-for-suckers legislative play went down in a flaming pile of odd political rhetoric and sound legislative judgment.

If you're late to the subject - check out the Bee's excellent Sunday editorial on the relationship between various state and local government contracts. (And a more damning editorial today that, frankly, while full of bluster, isn't nearly as well reasoned as the one in the first link.)

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